Tinnibot provides hope for Tinnitus sufferers

This week is Tinnitus Week 2021 – an online campaign to raise awareness of tinnitus and to ensure those with the condition have access to all the information they need. Approximately 17 to 20 per cent of Australians suffer from some degree of tinnitus and six per cent have bothersome tinnitus. 

We spoke with Dr Fabrice Bardy about the condition and how a new app, Tinnibot could help people affected by tinnitus. Tinnibot co-founder and Audiologist, Dr Bardy is a visiting research fellow who is currently working with Dr Wayne Wilson from UQ’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the perception of noise or sound when there is no external sound present. It can be heard as ringing, buzzing or whistling just to name a few. It can be intermittent, but for most people the sound is constant.

The onset of tinnitus is often linked to exposure to loud sounds, especially over a long period of time without the use of hearing protection. There are also other health conditions that can trigger tinnitus such as head injuries, impacted earwax or a mass on the auditory nerve.  

Tinnitus can have a significant impact on an individual’s mental well-being and quality, which can lead to anxiety and depression. Because the tinnitus is invisible to others, people who suffer from tinnitus often have to face these challenges alone. 

What treatment is available?

There is currently no scientifically proven cure for chronic tinnitus, unless there is an underlying medical condition as the cause which is reversible (e.g. wax in the ear). The most common evidence-based treatments for tinnitus are cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and sound therapy. 

How does the Tinnibot app work?

Tinnibot is a virtual coach that enables users to overcome the burden of their tinnitus by empowering them with knowledge and addressing the emotional, psychological and cognitive impacts of the condition. Tinnibot uses principles of cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness and sound therapy to help people develop coping techniques. This is delivered through a chat interface where activities are recommended to the user.

How will the app improve Tinnitus sufferers’ symptoms?

Tinnibot will enable the user to develop healthy thinking habits and overcome negative thoughts and behaviours associated with their tinnitus. This will improve overall mental wellbeing while increasing resilience towards tinnitus.

Why is Tinnibot an exciting breakthrough for people who suffer from Tinnitus?

Tinnibot was developed in response to the lack of support tinnitus sufferers often have to deal with, from long waiting lists in the healthcare system to high prices for private therapy. Everyone should be able to receive support for their tinnitus. Tinnibot was created to be a companion in a sufferers’ journey toward tinnitus relief.

Last updated:
4 February 2021